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Cam Newton makes good first impression on Bears

Panthers quarterback Cam Newt scrambles under pressure from  Bears linebacker Lance Briggs (55) first half an NFL football game

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton scrambles under pressure from Bears linebacker Lance Briggs (55) in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011. | AP

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Updated: May 9, 2012 9:51AM

Rookie Cam Newton
impressed the Bears’ defensive linemen with his pocket awareness and running ability and their defensive backs with his arm strength and accuracy after completing 27 of 46 passes for 374 yards in the Bears’ 34-29 victory Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field.

‘‘For a rookie, his presence in the pocket is something serious,’’ said defensive tackle Henry Melton, who thought he had Newton trapped in the backfield late in the fourth quarter, only to watch him escape. ‘‘You think he doesn’t see you or you’re going to sack him, and he breaks out of contain.’’

Newton scored on runs of one and two yards and led the Panthers on an eight-play, 77-yard drive in the final 1:17 before throwing a three-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen, who caught five
passes for 50 yards.

‘‘He’s confident back there,’’ cornerback Tim Jennings said. ‘‘He knows when he has time and doesn’t get rattled too much. He’s a big guy [6-5, 248 pounds], so he can still throw it if he gets hit, and he has an arm on him, too.’’

Newton tried to force a first-quarter pass to receiver Legedu Naanee, who was sandwiched by linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. The ball was deflected, and nickel back D.J. Moore intercepted it and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. Newton was trying to find Naanee again on fourth-and-10 with 1:55 left when he threw an incompletion that gave the Bears the ball back.

‘‘I just have to make a
better throw, give him a chance,’’ Newton said of the pass that essentially ended the game. ‘‘I don’t think I gave him a good enough chance on that particular play, but we will watch the film and make the adjustments for next week’s game.’’

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